We’ve all heard the term perspective before, we’ve all probably used it in conversation. But do we actually know what we mean when we say perspective? Do we have the same understanding of what perspective is?
According to Merriam Webster, perspective is:
- 1. The technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically: representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance
- 2. The interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed: also, Point of View
- 3. The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance
Dictionaries focus on defining perspective based on vision, sight and physical representation. Perspective is originally derived from artistic expression to accurately portray reality in a two-dimensional form; but that’s just the technical definition. Over time perspective represented a mental view, a more intangible concept that explained differences in opinions and ideas. What perspective means in modern day continues to change and adapt to the advances in society, creating a complex and abstract notion. Therefore, we must attempt to define what perspective is, inclusive of all aspects that create it:
A perspective in our sense is a point of view with which one experiences the world, both mentally and physically; shaped by character, values, and morals, perspective reflects the life journey that one experiences – life paths both beneficial and consequential. A perspective is used to see the world, other humans, and abstract concepts. One perspective should never be identical to another perspective, as perspective is unique to each individual human being. Humans are the only creatures capable of perspective.
Perspective is one of the most important qualities that we have as human beings. Perspective allows us to be individually unique. Perspective enables us to create ideas, to invent tools, and to solve issues. Perspective allows us to empathize and sympathize. Perspective allows us to care for, nurture, and love one another.
However, when perspectives are in disagreement, conflict and tension arises. Perspective causes injustice, war, and murder. Perspective creates imbalance and inequality. Yet this can be avoided with the attributes of empathy and sympathy that innately exist in perspective.
After all this extensive rambling, what exactly is perspective in more simple terms?:
Perspective is what you see and how you think when you open your eyes in the morning and before you close them at night.
So, what’s your perspective?
What am I looking for?
A bit about the author
To be honest, I have no idea what I’m looking for. I’m a college student trying to define my identity through relationships, academics, hobbies and passions. In order to understand who I am as an individual, in order to understand what goes into my perspective, I first must find what motivates me. I know that I’m passionate, I know that I’m strong-willed, I know that I derive my life experience through my values. Justice, education, adventure, perspective, optimism, love, empathy – all concepts that are dear to my heart and take priority in my life.
But what drives me? What do I dedicate my life to? Do any of us ever actually know what we dedicate our lives to? I’d like to think we naturally align our life experiences to what makes up our heart, but I’m nowhere near certain. I’m not certain of the road that I’m on or where it’s taking me, and I’m unsure of where I will end up for the rest of my life. However, I do know that if I’m true to myself, if I take lessons from my life’s journey, and if I continue to shape my perspective by the world around me, I will end up where I need to be.